On Lu Kaigang’s feed, sheets of tarp are transformed into haute couture as China’s mountainous backdrop becomes his catwalk, a 22-year-old villager sashaying to fame via a video-sharing app for the everyman — Kuaishou.
Lu is one of hundreds of millions of users uploading short clips to the app, which propelled its parent company to a $5.4 billion initial public offering last week.
But while its competitor Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — is famed for trendy and typically urban influencers, Kuaishou reaches a different demographic, lassoing in migrant workers and rural Chinese.
Lu uses his colourful video stream to show how everyday materials can be turned into sophisticated clothing, and he has set up an in-app store on his profile.
That traction with a poorer but connected mass market known as “tu wei” in Chinese — meaning “earthy” — resonated on the Hong Kong stock exchange.